I let my eyes wander around the room as she shuffles papers in preparation for our meeting. And, as I glance to the right of my quaint little sitting area, I notice them.
They are mounted and framed. They are unusually still. And they are intricately beautiful.
Usually, we see butterflies only briefly. We catch split-second summer glimpses of them as they touch down and, just as we crane our necks to get a better look, they flit away. However, right now I am in the Office of Career Education where the butterflies are on the wall and my résumé is on the table. Here, both can be examined more thoroughly.
As we slowly creep out of winter, summer internships have crawled into my mind. When I imagine the real-world experience that awaits, the excitement blooms inside of me, only to be tamped down again by one lurking anxiety.
The document is awkwardly constructed and much too self-promoting. My work experience looks disjointed and inconclusive when I see it all typed up and framed by the stiff, white corners of the page. Even my own contact information looks unfamiliar in size 10 Calibri. Are there really four sixes in my phone number? As the thoughts rumble around inside my mind, I pray she will be able to sort through them all.
She is Cynthia Nichols, HR expert, and she interrupts my train of worried thought with a warm smile.
“So Jamie, what’s your dream job?”
Gone. Every thought immediately abandons my mind. The butterflies dismount from their cases and carry my words across the room and out the window. Somewhere, a clock ticks, alerting me of each second that passes without my response. A heat clambers up my neck, unfolding across the bottom half of my face and filling the hollows of my cheeks. Words? What are words? I don’t know any. And then, by some miracle, I pull the one remaining thought from my mind and spit it into the stale silence.
“I want to write books.”
Oh? And then I know words again. Yes, I do want to write. I want to tell a story. And then I want to tell another. I want to show, to teach, to learn, to create, and then to bind it all up and number its pages. I want to create people, destroy relationships, burn bridges, and repair sadness.
And then I’m back in Cynthia’s office, and she is stressing the importance of action verbs. I nod along realizing how vital a good résumé is in the pursuit of any dream. If I ever want to be a writer, I need to get experience along the way, and my résumé is where it all begins. I begin to see an entirely new light shed on the composition techniques learned in past English classes. Now, I know what the goal is. Now I know every job I pursue should be focused on getting me one step closer to that dream.
And now I know that, while I want to write, the most important thing I will be writing next is a good résumé.